Raul Midón - The Mirror (2020)

Raul Midón
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Raul Midon - The Mirror 

Listeners will always hear the best version of Raul Midon whenever a finished product emerges from the studio. That was certainly what happened on If You Really Want, the 2018 recording that Midon made with the Metropole Orkest and conductor Vince Mendoza. That detailed, year-long process included Midon going into the studio to re-record his vocals. The tics and imperfections that are a part of live recordings have no place in a studio recording, in Midon’s opinion. “It’s a recording for all time, so unless an imperfection is perfect, you shouldn’t leave it in there,” Midon told me during a 2019 interview.

Raul Midon - The Mirror 

Listeners will always hear the best version of Raul Midon whenever a finished product emerges from the studio. That was certainly what happened on If You Really Want, the 2018 recording that Midon made with the Metropole Orkest and conductor Vince Mendoza. That detailed, year-long process included Midon going into the studio to re-record his vocals. The tics and imperfections that are a part of live recordings have no place in a studio recording, in Midon’s opinion. “It’s a recording for all time, so unless an imperfection is perfect, you shouldn’t leave it in there,” Midon told me during a 2019 interview.

The results of this attention to detail has been a series of highly regarded albums that resulted in Grammy nominations for Bad Ass and Blind and the aforementioned If You Really Want. And singer/songwriter again creates a quality project on The Mirror, a ten -track album set to be released in mid-March.

Midon landed Grammy nods by crafting tightly focused albums that found his moving in a direction of jazz and found his collaborating with top flight jazz players. Midon’s solid rep as a power packed vocalist and good song writer allowed him to once again attract highly regarded jazz players. For example, Gerald Clayton gets a co-writing credit on the jazz/folk fusion track “Deep Dry Ocean.” Vocalist Janis Siegel of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer is one of the backing vocalist on “I Love the Afternoon,” the tune that opens the album. One song is a breezy and percussive Latin-tinged celebration of spending summer afternoons allowing your radio and imagination to take you away. The other an intimate, acoustic ballad of a man who spends his nights filling the void in his life with the memories of a lost love. Both tracks represent a project that is something of return to form for the guitarist. Midon’s past work possessed an eclectic feel, and this made him hard to categorize.

Projects such as State of Mind and Don’t Hesitate found Midon moving from folk to soul to jazz and funk and The Mirror is similar to those projects in terms of the diversity of genres. The Mirror features two spoken word pieces, “If I Could See” and “A Day Without War.” The swinging jazz ballad “A Certain Café” shares space with the Latin funk of “The Mirror.”

Midon spits a few bars on “You’re The One,” a mid-tempo cut where he offers to take the lady of his choice away from this hectic world; meanwhile you can imagine a bunch of theater kids doing jazz fingers of on the swinging show tuned styled “Disguise,” a number where Midon lets a friend know that he can see through the façade he’s erected.

Midon is hip enough to the game to realize that getting into the jazz lane and remaining there for the course of two albums likely helped him land those coveted Grammy nominations. The Mirror shows that Midon is not content to remain in one lane. We’ll see how the Grammy committee responds, but this committee of one is down for the ride. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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